As part of efforts to boost food production in the country, the federal government has said that 14 additional rice mills, with 420,000mt of rice would be completed next year.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, disclosed this at an interaction session with newsmen in Abuja.
He said plans were at their final stage to expand rice processing capacity in the country, adding that three rice milling industries with capacity of 90, 000 metric tons would soon be completed in February 2012.
According to him: “The milling industries are in Ebonyi, Niger and Kebbi States. The 14 additional rice mills, which target 420,000mt of rice will also be completed next year.
Also, the federal government has also signed a partnership agreement with China to supply 12 Milling Plants to meet up with challenges of demands”.
Adesina noted that the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, also unveiled plans to setup six cargo terminals for exporting agricultural produce by 2012.
As part of planned interventions, the minister assured of increasing the nation’s food production with 50 million metric tons between 2011 and 2015. He restated that Nigeria must feed itself as well as increase its foreign exchange. His words: “Nigeria has become a floodgate for food imports. For a country that can grow different types of rice, it still spends N1billion on rice importation making its total annual import worth N635 billion annually”.
However, he bemoaned the country’s large importation of rice, wheat, fishes and sorghum, decrying its inability to create jobs in the rural areas, but rather increases its investment in overseas.
“Nigeria has been eating far beyond its limit and this affects our naira. We are not creating jobs in rural areas, but foreign countries. We are blessed, so we must feed ourselves and increase our exports. We are targeting to address these situations by 2012.”